Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum insists qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals is no guarantee of a turnaround in their domestic form, and the players will have to work even harder to get things back on track.
A second 2-0 win over RB Leipzig on Wednesday made it 4-0 on aggregate and put Jurgen Klopp’s side into the last eight for the third time in four seasons.
However, those two victories – plus the one over the Premier League’s bottom side Sheffield United – are the only successes in their last nine games, a spell which has seen an unprecedented six successive defeats at Anfield.
They head into the weekend in eighth, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and having played one more match than fellow top-four chasers West Ham, Everton and Tottenham.
“It helps to get confidence back when you have results and especially when you play a good game,” Wijnaldum told liverpoolfc.com.
“But it’s not a guarantee that you’re going to win the next couple of games, so we just have to realise that we have to give everything and work even harder than before to get the results back that we had before.
“So we’re happy with this and it will give us confidence, but we know that we still have to do a lot of work to win a lot of games in a row.”
Uncharacteristically goals have been a problem for Klopp’s side, with only Mohamed Salah, who against Leipzig registered 25 in a season for the third time in four years at the club, reaching the numbers expected of him.
While Sadio Mane has scored in back-to-back Champions League ties, he has managed only three Premier League goals since the Merseyside derby in mid-October, in which Liverpool’s season started to take a downward turn when Virgil Van Dijk was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.
Roberto Firmino, currently out injured with a sore knee, has scored six goals – all in the Premier League – in 37 appearances.
To put his form into context, Diogo Jota, who missed three months with a knee injury, has nine goals in 20 appearances and while he has not scored since returning in last Sunday’s defeat to Fulham, he has looked lively.
“This season, unfortunately, we’re in a position and a situation where we don’t score every chance we have,” said Wijnaldum.
“It [creating chances] gives you a really good feeling; sometimes also you’re disappointed because you don’t score the chances you get but that we create chances again is a good thing.”
On Salah’s continued consistency in front of goal – he has 119 in 191 appearances for the club – the Holland midfielder added: “We hope that he can continue doing that because that will make it easier for us to win games.
“(It’s) amazing what he is doing. He is always searching for a goal, always searching to come into positions to score a goal.
“Yeah, 25 is a good number – hopefully he can continue scoring goals.”
Friday is the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the former Liverpool manager Joe Fagan, who died in 2001 having won the European Cup, Division One title and League Cup treble in 1985, and as part of Anfield’s ongoing development plans are being discussed for a lasting tribute.
The ground already has statues dedicated to Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.